Posted by: joan49 | November 6, 2011

Meeting Their Needs

Most of my work, btw, is being done in partnership with a local Indonesian NGO whose main focus is community development, but is focusing more on health issues in Mentawai since the need here is so great.  This NGO has an Indonesian nurse and recently graduated midwife who together make up my immediate medical team.   The pictures are from 2 of the mobile clinics we’ve done, plus a basic first-aid training for a group of kaders from one village that included how to treat simple and complex wounds, how to splint a broken or injured body part, how to treat burns, and how to treat heat stroke.  The videos are from simulations we did afterwards with the kaders where we gave them scenarios and had them practice the concepts on each other.  We gave the information in both Indonesian (which most of them understand though rarely use), and the local Mentawai language.  Many of the women are illiterate so we gave them handouts with both written content as well as pictures to demonstrate the concepts.

The House Continues…

So, with the building materials ready we hired two construction workers from Sumatra who have experience building homes using the earthquake resistant techniques, and they got to work.  It took them about 3 weeks to get the foundation walls up and the framing for the house started.  Then we took a 2-week break to celebrate the end of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month.  Most people from Mentawai are Christian, but the construction workers are from Sumatra and Muslim, so they went home to celebrate with their families.

When they came back with an extra guy to help with labor, they began preparing the wood for the roof frame….they began putting up the sheets of corrugatedaluminum for the roof.  Most roofing material is tin and so rusts quickly.  We were lucky enough to score aluminum, but the funny thing was that the only kind they had in stock at that moment was a baby blue color.  So I ended up with a baby blue colored roof.

Ok, until next time…


  1. Hey, Karen! Great to see your blog! Inquiring minds want to know more about the unique challenges in building your house in a jungle??? Mentawai is so remote, where do you get materials?

  2. It is nice to see the progress on your home. I like the roof color, very nice. Are you learning the Mentawai language as well? The clinics sound great, they are clearly very needed. I’m getting ready to return to Costa Rica with students in the Spring to do our community health course there. The blog is very inspiring.

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